Lost Journal: Graduation Day Doggerel

Journal entry: June 19, 1987 (age 18)

The day we’ve looked forward to is always surreal
The things we should recognize seem intended for others
Are these feelings what we’re supposed to feel?
Was it different for our grandparents, our enemies, or our brothers?

We sit in rows and patiently wait for our names
To walk across a proscenium in a square hat
And be snapped for enclosure in silver frames
Did we really work all these years just for…that?

Speakers regale us with advice both poetic and base
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” said Polonius
Words intended to echo across time and space
But Shakespeare put those words in a mouth felonious

So who to listen to as we set out on our own
To work toward more walks across distant stages
When again we’ll gather and mark the milestone
Advanced not in our grip on this world, just in our ages

Excuse me for a moment, there’s my name
(Stand up, shuffle, grab paper, shake a hand and smile)
Okay, I’m back – and everything feels the same
The last lap regimented as much as the mile

Some of us fidgeting in our gowns look back with sorrow
Thinking of the cresting closeness to people we’ll miss
Others are eager to shake off today’s shackles for tomorrow
Burying this awkward time; this ache for a never-kissed kiss

The day may be here when we’ll head up or down on our own
Guiding hands fallen away, or hidden to set us free
Change changed to active verb from most improper noun
It feels both good and scary that now it’s up to me

Tim Mollen
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